Right now, they’re mostly concerned about a temporary subtraction.
Dwyane Wade(notes) is unlikely to suit up Friday night in Memphis after straining his left calf in Miami’s latest game, giving the Heat a steep hill to climb as they look for a fifth straight victory.
The Heat (28-27) were reportedly interested in names such as Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer(notes) leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, but ending the day without making a big splash didn’t bother team president Pat Riley.
“We’re a playoff team,” Riley said. “We can be very competitive. This team might be a better playoff team than it is during the regular season if everybody’s healthy.”
The problem for Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra is that, right now, they aren’t. Wade suffered a strained calf midway through the first quarter of Miami’s game at New Jersey on Wednesday, ending his streak of 148 straight games scoring in double figures.
Miami went on to win 87-84 behind 23 points from Michael Beasley(notes), but the concern quickly shifted to Wade. He’s listed as day to day, but it appears doubtful that’ll he’ll suit up against the Grizzlies (27-26) or Saturday at Dallas, the Heat’s fourth game in five nights.
“When I pushed off, I felt a little pop,” Wade said. “I took two more steps and it felt the same way, so I knew I needed to get out.”
Beasley was seen as a potential trade chip for Miami, but the second overall pick of the 2008 draft wasn’t a player Riley wanted to give up - and if Wade’s out, he becomes the team’s leading scorer at 15.6 points per game.
“We took him off the board,” Riley said. “We feel like Michael is going to be a core component in this team for years to come. He just has too much of an upside. You see how he’s growing every day. I see him down the road two or three years from now as a 25 and 10 guy every single night.”
Beyond that, Beasley and his teammates have plenty of reason to be motivated against Memphis as they look for their first five-game winning streak since a nine-game run from Feb. 28-March 16, 2007.
Beasley scored six points on 2 of 11 shooting in the Heat’s 118-90 home loss to the Grizzlies on Dec. 13.
The Grizzlies had lost five straight before visiting red-hot Toronto, but Gay scored 14 of his 29 points after the third quarter to help spark a come-from-behind 109-102 overtime win.
“Everything was against us,” Gay told the NBA’s official Web site. “This was one of the games where if we felt sorry for ourselves we would have given up. We really needed it and we got back to playing how we like to play.”
A day later, general manager Chris Wallace made a move to solidify his bench. The Grizzlies acquired Ronnie Brewer(notes), who’s started all 53 games with Utah this season, for a future first-round pick.
Brewer, an athletic defender who can score but is a shaky perimeter shooter, has seen his scoring average slip from 13.7 points last season to 9.5 in 2009-10, including 6.0 per game in February.